Status Reports & Other Ramblings / behind the scenes
I've been working on increasing the wholesale side of WS for a while now, both because it's an awesome way to get my work out into the world and because there are some days when I just don't have the spoons to design things but I can put my hands on autopilot and bingewatch an entire season of something (no I didn't yell at the TV when I ran out of episodes of The Crown, that was somebody else and definitely not me) and the next thing I know there are earrings everywhere.
The problem with wholesale, though, is that it involves contacting total strangers and going HI WOULD YOU LIKE TO CARRY MY SHINIES IN YOUR STORE? and when you live with brainweasels that can be a challenge. And by challenge I mean "possibly I have stress-cleaned my entire house to avoid sending a single email" and while scrubbing the bathroom ceiling DOES need to happen occasionally it's generally not the best use of my time.
But! I have been working on a proper wholesale section and it went live today and WOO I AM AN ACTUAL GROWNUP TIME TO GO WORK ON MY TAXES. I just thought you should know.
The winter holidays are fast approaching, and so are holiday shipping deadlines! Please keep the following dates in mind, because your friendly neighborhood wirebender can only work so many miracles in any given day:
if you would like your shinies to arrive before the first night of Hannukah (Tuesday, December 13th), the order must be placed no later than Sunday, December 3rd. No exceptions, because I will be at a conference and I haven't been able to teach the cats to pack orders.
if you would like your shinies to arrive before the last night of Hanukkah (Tuesday, December 19th) it would be a really good idea to observe the previous shipping deadline, but you will probably be fine as long if your order is placed no later than Sunday, December 10th. Unless I come home from the conference with some sort of plague, which is entirely possible because, well, 5500 people in a convention center for 5 days. In New England. In December. (Wait. Who thought this was a good idea?)
If you would like your shinies to arrive before Christmas Eve (Sunday, December 24th) the order must be placed no later than Friday, December 15th. Again, no exceptions; I am not a Time Lord. (Unless you want to pay $40 for overnight shipping, and yes, that is an exorbitant markup because I charge extra for things I don't want to do. Now you know.)
If you somehow manage to forget about the existence of Christmas until December 19th, as someone inevitably does every single year (how? how is that possible? do you live under a rock??) your options are… a gift certificate or a larger gift certificate!
- If you live outside the United States, AHAHAHAHA good luck. Maybe try sacrificing a goat to your local gods? Or just buy a gift certificate, it’s much less messy and PETA probably won’t get mad at you unless they find out I’m not a vegetarian in which case… uh… you’re on your own here, actually.
I usually do the anniversary sale the first week in November, but this year I'm flying out to Wisconsin on November 2nd for a music retreat, so... rather than making y'all wait until I get back, we're going to do it a week early!
*throws confetti, blows noisemakers*
*winces, puts in earplugs*
...did I mention that I'm recovering from a particularly nasty run of migraines? And that I've spent approximately six minutes planning the anniversary sale because I've spent most of the past month hiding in a dark room pretending my head doesn't exist? That's okay, though. I'll make it up as I go along.
Which, honestly, is pretty much what I've been doing for the past twelve years anyway, because... well, I never actually planned to be a jewelry artist. It just... sort of happened? I started making jewelry as a hobby back in 2003, and people started asking to buy it and they told their friends who also wanted to buy it, and I made a website and it sort of went viral and suddenly it wasn't a hobby anymore, at least not according to the IRS, but being an artist isn't a sensible life choice and I had a Real Job with an office in Manhattan and everything, so I decided I'd just be a Responsible Grownup by day and An Artiste by night and I drank a lot of tea and didn't sleep very much.
And then one Monday in October of 2005 I went into my office in Manhattan and discovered no fewer than 37 angry emails from the same board member in my inbox and possibly I forwarded all 37 of them to my boss along with a letter of resignation and then had a panic attack because BEING AN ARTIST IS NOT A SENSIBLE CAREER CHOICE, KYTH and yet somehow it all worked out just fine. For twelve years and counting.
(Although I still drink a lot of tea and don't sleep very much, but at least now I get to do it on my own schedule and in pajamas.)
Honestly, I think anybody who tells you they know what they're doing with their life is probably either lying through their teeth or on much better ADHD meds than I am. Or maybe both.
So... yeah. Here I am. Twelve years in, still flying by the seat of my pants and making it up as I go along. And with that said, here's what we're doing to start the party:
- coupon code 12TH takes $12 off any order of $50 or more
- there's a pretty sweet Earring Club deal happening
- livestream on Thursday from 7 - 8 pm eastern time
- Instant Gratification session on Friday!
- this space intentionally left blank
(Seriously, though? THANK YOU. All of you. I couldn't have done this without you. [Insert a lot of embarrassing mushy sentimental stuff here.] I don't know how much longer my hands will let me keep doing this, but I plan to find out, because honestly, this is a lot more fun than having a Real Job.)
A few people have asked about my ring splints lately, so I thought I'd do a quick post about them - why I wear them, what they do, how I made them, and why I'm very unlikely to ever make them commercially.
First of all: yes, I'm a zebra. We don't know exactly what kind of zebra, because my doctor and I have talked it over and concluded that there's really no point in arguing with my insurance company about genetic testing since the treatment options are basically just "don't do that" and "take a lot of pain meds" and, well, I'm already doing those things.
EDS tends to be somewhat progressive, and this past year I went from being bendier than the average person to having to actively rearrange my skeleton multiple times a day. (If you spend any amount of time with me in person, you'll probably see me casually whacking my kneecaps back into place or trying to get my right shoulderblade back where it belongs.) This summer I spent a lot of time playing guitar while leading services at my synagogue, and one Friday morning my fingers just started collapsing backwards while I was practicing, which was... problematic, to say the least.
So because I'm the sort of person who grabs a spool of wire and pliers to fix her car's tailpipe, I did what any sensible person would do in that situation: I grabbed some wire and pliers and wirewrapped my fingers. And because all I had was 18 gauge wire (which isn't sturdy enough) I added some extra wire for stability:
And lo, it worked. I played the service and my fingers didn't slide all over the place, and people commented favorably on my pretty new rings, and I went home and priced out a set of ring splints and then I priced heavy gauge sterling wire and realized I could make several sets for what it would cost to buy a single splint, and given that I tend to lose things, I figured it would probably be best to just make my own.
My first set was 16 gauge sterling, and they worked pretty well for a couple of months, until the day I shoved them in my pocket and forgot to put them on and lost them... uh... somewhere in New Hampshire. (See also "why I decided to just make my own.) I said some bad words, and then I made a new set in 14 gauge sterling, which turned out to be much more stable, and that's what I wear now.
As you can see in that photo, they're sort of a figure-eight shape; I can adjust them slightly to compensate for swelling in my fingers. They stay on surprisingly well, although I do have to pay a bit of attention to keep them from getting caught on things. I had to fish one out of a customer's order the other day (fortunately I noticed I was missing one before I put that package in the mail) and I get them tangled in my hair on a daily basis.
(I've also gotten stuck to my instruments more time than I care to admit, because I am an extremely graceful and coordinated person.)
I'm unlikely to ever offer them for sale, for a couple of reasons: one, they are a giant pain in the butt to size properly. I have my own fingers right here, and it still takes me a looooong time to get them shaped and fitted properly. (There's a reason they cost so much.) Also, technically they're a medical device, and there's all kinds of liability involved in that, and I'd rather just not even go there. And working with heavy gauge wire is hard on my hands, which... is kind of the problem in the first place.
But it's pretty useful to be able to fix my own fingers with wire.
This is a repost of a blog post from 2014. I don’t regret my decision for an instant. It was one of the best choices I’ve ever made for my business, and I continue to stand by it: Black Friday just doesn't happen at Wyrding Studios.
BUT! The anniversary bash does happen every year, the first week in November. Except I'm going to be in Wisconsin for a big chunk of the first week in November (at a music retreat/conference that I am super excited to be attending) so this year we're going to do it a week early, starting on October 25th and running through the 31st. I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing this year, but I'll figure it out as I go along. It'll be awesome.
(WS is turning 12 this year, y'all. TWELVE. I almost have a teenager.)
But anyway, here's my Black Friday manifesto:
I have decided that Wyrding Studios will not actively be participating in Black Friday this year. Instead, for the rest of the year, I will be focusing on offering a wider range of affordable items in the store, with occasional flash sales, coupon codes, and special offers via social media.
I’ve spent quite a bit of time thinking about this over the past few weeks, and this is not a decision I’ve made lightly. The short explanation is that Black Friday has become something that conflicts strongly with my personal values, as well negatively affecting my creativity and putting undue stress on my physical and mental health.
The longer explanation is significantly more complex.
Like most retail business owners, I usually see a substantial increase in orders between October and December. (The origin of the phrase Black Friday is sometimes attributed to it being the time of year when retail businesses tip over from running in the red to making a profit.) However, over the past decade, I’ve watched Black Friday creep earlier and earlier every year, put more and more strain on retail workers and business owners, and become more and more violent and mindless.
As a one-woman business, I have a great deal of flexibility about when and how much I work; I have to maintain a consistent level of inventory and keep up with website orders, subscriptions, commissions, and wholesale orders… but when I do that work is mostly up to me. If I want to start working at 2am on a holiday I don’t celebrate, it’s my choice to do so and no one else is significantly impacted by my actions.
But if I continue to participate in Black Friday, I’m tacitly involving myself in something that I’m finding more and more at odds with my personal ethics every year. As many of you know, 2014 has been a very difficult year for me. It has also been profoundly transformative. Some of you have probably heard me talk about my belief that tikkun olam - literally, “heal the world” - is part of the responsibility of being an artist. Part of that work is making the conscious decision to live as mindfully and compassionately as I can.
As Black Friday loomed every closer on my calendar, I found myself more and more uncomfortable with both the prospect of trying to take on the additional workload and the implications of continuing to participate in something that becomes more materialistic, violent, and disruptive every year. When I decided yesterday that I needed to opt out of it, it felt like a giant weight had dropped off my shoulders. For the first time in entirely too long, I truly looked forward to going into the studio today.
That alone tells me I’m making the right choice for myself. Whether or not it will be the right choice as a business owner remains to be seen, but I think it’s the only choice I can make in good conscience.